The State of Some Bikes!!!


Drinking and riding!

Me and R-bert have bought several bikes in the last couple of years and some of them have been in woeful condition, even though they had, in some cases, a current MOT.

I thought I would write about the worse cases to give you a heads up so that you can keep an eye out for this sort of thing when you are buying your next bike!

Flick through the below horror stories and see how many you’ve come across yourself. The sad thing is that with a little bit of TLC even rough bikes can be made to work well again, it’s not just about the money!

Yamaha R1

This bike only had some mild problems, the bike was pretty much mint condition, it has to be for R-bert to even consider it. I mean the man takes the fairing off to clean the bike!!! As I said this bike was generally good but it did have two faults, one worse than the other. Problem one, the minor one was that the chain and sprockets needed changing which we did but it was not really critical.

However the rear tyre…………. well that was a different case I have never seen such a squared off tyre that was still 100% legal. I think what had happened was that the previous owner had only ridden the bike bolt up-right but with a very high pressure. It was a very weird ride home, but easily fixed. With the chain and the tyres fixed the bike is as near perfect as it can be for the year (it is 13 years old!)

One other thing with this bike was the crash bungs had been put on the wrong sides of the bike meaning that they could not be fully tightened, R-bert swapped them over and tightened the bolts correctly.

Triumph Daytona 650

Now this bike was totally different, it was getting to the death trap stage and it had a very recent MOT. To be honest I am not 100% sure how it got the MOT, maybe the tester was blind or something!!

Once again the tyres were at the wrong pressure, even though R-bert asked about this twice, but this time they were over inflated by some considerable margin (42 front and 45 rear instead of the required 34 & 38psi front and rear). Also the front brakes were pitiful (After checking it seemed only one piston was moving and looking at the pads it had been like that a while).

The other problem with the bike was the notchiest head bearings I have ever seen (These head bearings don’t go overnight so they must have been like this for the MOT (and it is a fail)) This was a very nice bike after we sorted the problems, and it really didn’t take long, for example we got the brakes 90% there in about 20mins!!!!

Suzuki SV650S K5

This bike was honestly the scariest bike I have ever seen on the road (well maybe not) to top it all the chap I bought it off rode it to my house to deliver it, a journey of about 130miles. The bike not only had the worst green high-lighting including some bolts and the very badly done mirrors it also had some horrific mechanical faults.

So lets start with the tyres, a common theme, they were woefully under-inflated the front was 22psi instead of 33psi and the rear a scary 15psi instead of 36psi. The rear tyre was also completely knackered and virtually bald in the centre, I think it was wearing at an accelerated rate due to the incorrect pressure which hints towards the fact that he routinely ran it at the wrong pressure. There was a horrible knock from the front end which ended up being the head bearing being very, very loose.

The weird thing was that the bearings were new, so someone knew enough how to fit them but didn’t know how to adjust them correctly. The reservoir for the front brake was held on with electrical tape, the mount had been broken at some point. To follow the electrical tape theme the rear indicators were held together with electrical tape too!

Triumph Speed Four

Nothing sinister with this one, I think the bike hadn’t been used for some time and the tyre pressures were around 10psi lower. I think this just shows that possibly the best thing that you can take to fetch a bike apart from your riding kit is a tyre pressure gauge.

Suzuki GSXR750 K2

This one was generally a good bike with no real faults apart from the gearbox. This one was mostly my fault I was offered a test ride and declined it. R-bert picked the bike up for me and mentioned that the gearbox was making a funny noise.

I found out in the end that the gear selector fork was bent and some of the gear dogs were worn. This little mistake cost me around £400 and quite a bit of my time!!!! I really should of took that test ride, then I could of walked away or at least negotiated a big discount.

Suzuki GSXR1000 K5

I took this bike as a swap for my KTM Superduke (plus some cash my way)and I thought I was onto a winner. overall the bike looked good and seemed good until I tried to fit some crash bungs. One side went on very very easily but the other…….. When I started to tighten it there was a horrible feeling and half the mount on the cylinder head fell off as it was held on with liquid metal.

The chap who swapped me the bike claimed that he did not know anything about this fault. In the end I got a second hand cylinder head and swapped it over, it cost me about £100 and a lot of my time.

Buell 1125CR

I bought this bike from a dealer which I thought would mean I was less likely to be buying something slightly dodgy but it seems I was wrong. I had the bike delivered, as they offered it for free, so I didn’t really notice all the problems until I took it for my first ride. So the problems with this bike started with the totally non-working rear brake, even though it has a recent MOT.

A sticking throttle, another MOT failure, rapidly flashing indicators, arguably to fast to pass it’s MOT. I can sort out all these bits but I was particularly miffed to find out that the front tyre while the right make and size is the wrong speed rating.

About The Author


Ambitious Amateur Mechanic, with a slight (OK not slight) Suzuki bias